Comments on the news (mostly letters) today. (As against review of yesterday’s news – best read on di-ve).
1. Language & Identity
Do the letters pages in our newspapers really reflect the collective buzz of the nation’s mind? Or is it the pastime of a few that is later extrapolated and blown to national proportions?
Are Maltese really worried about what Gandhi thought of Mussolini and whether the former calling the letter a superman in the time of the spread of the ubermensch was not just a faux pas after a rice-depriving diet too many? Do the letters of Mr Figolla really represent a faction of the Maltese or simply the garbled hobby of one who has discovered that writing letters to the Times gets much more attention than re-enacting the Battle of Anzio with his lead soldiers while wearing a funny hat?
How big is the problem of linguistic intolerance in Malta? Really. Do we really insult those who speak English as a first language on a regular basis? Are there still many speakers of the language of the kitchen who despise speakers of the colonisers lingo? Do the tal-pépé still classify speakers of the vernacular as ” ‘atta hamalli” (they never could quite figure out the q in whore – that’s ‘ahba for you)?
And why oh why does Arnold Cassola still believe that the majority of the Maltese are trilingual. Has he spoken to any of the yoof of today? Does he know that they couldn’t find their way around the basic of Italian let alone follow a whole programme of Tutto il Calcio Minuto Per Minuto? We still think that we are a nation of multilinguals. Last I was at University (once I had crossed to the lecturing side of the atrium) I remember the new generations of students being unable to go beyond “Ciao” and “Buonasera” – and no, French or German had not replaced Italian.
As for English. Ha. We speak English yes? At this rate we risk becoming Luxembourgish. Bastardising our own language and speaking something that is a mixture of English, Maltese and Italian with a few slang lingo thrown in. Smakkelejk.
After this language rant I couldn’t help reproducing a title that already appears somewhere in the archives of J’accuse. How Much Money do They Have? The MLPN I mean. “It’s never too late to change” PN is now proposing a law on party funding. That’s the same PN that shot down previous talks because the ceiling on funds from one person (and maximum donation) were considered TOO LOW. Last time round PN wanted to be able to receive 20,000 from one person.
We take these things for granted. Truth is we never ask ourselves what the hell do they need all this money for? To run their useless TV’s, newspapers, and play big parties on the fosos with lights, stages and sound. For the little party people to enjoy feeling like professional marketing people. For sons of ministers to mingle with partitarji ta’ gewwa and play with hi-ups, state of the art video cameras, printing lines and sending useless mails to the overbored general public.
Their monsters feed on themselves and are never happy. Bilbo Baggin’s ring was found and is now shared by the MLPN clan in general – all eager to touch a bit of the pleasures and thrills of being in power. Because being in power also means disposing of the means that only the parties can afford. Whether in government or in opposition there is always a Dar Centrali to go to while carrying your leather filofax in one hand, the suitcase in another and appearing very very busy. That is the thrill they get – the quasi-avukati, quasi-tobba, quasi-periti…
Take it all away. Give them a mic, a soap box and some gestetner machines. Remind them how politics is about the content and not the carrier. We need a law prohibiting ownership of the media by political parties. Somehow this inspires a possible private members bill… but can we do that?
3. Football’s Uglies
The Times is still reporting the Malta- Turkey match. Today’s article summarising the MFA president’s take on the match was accompanied with the above picture. Mark (Xifer) pointed out the uglies. Look closely, very closely and see who is really really happy to ride the wave of nationalism that football tends to create. Nothing wrong with their being there, nothing wrong with their supporting the national team. Let’s just hope that they keep politics out of football.
And anyway… unlike Berlusconi their movement failed to monopolise the main chant that echoed around Ta’ Qali during the memorable match… FORZA MALTA!